Natural Resource Management Jobs and Internships in the Public Sector

Each summer the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources hires around 200 student interns, and they have hired many BSU students to: survey fish, assess river and lake health, work as interpretive naturalists at state parks, band waterfowl, manage wildlife, dive to survey and monitor for mussels, inspect for aquatic invasive species and manage forests. These positions are posted at the Minnesota State Jobs site.

GIS and forestry internships with Beltrami County Natural Resources Management Office and Beltrami County GIS and Land Records Office.

If you want to be a DNR conservation officer internships are available and the deadline is usually the end of January.

Students have worked for county Soil and Water Conservation Districts across the state. The Minnesota Association of Conservation District Employees have a website where they post internship and job positions on a regular basis.

Kimberly Shelton sitting over a mountain lion with a research collar around its neck“During my internship, I learned to integrate Western and Indigenous science in the real world. We used traditional wildlife tracking and GPS collars to identify mountain lion cluster points and then we would investigate using track and sign knowledge — an ancient skill — to interpret what we saw.”

— Kimberly Shelton ’20
Wildlife Biology B.S.
Indigenous Sustainability Studies Minor

Read about opportunities in Indigenous sustainability studies

Counties Hiring BSU Students and Graduates

Itasca County SWCD where students did aquatic invasive species reconnaissance and treatment once AIS were discovered.

Cass County SWCD has hired students to ground truth LIDAR data using GIS. This internship involves a lot time in the woods locating timber stands.

Pope County SWCD and Hubbard County SWCD and offer internships that do a variety of conservation activities.

Big Stone County SWCD, where students worked to implement the Federal Farm Bill.

Beltrami County SWCD has also hired BSU graduates.

Agencies and Programs Hiring BSU Students and Graduates

In the Detroit Lakes area Pelican River Watershed District has done a lot of work on their impaired water quality.

Students who are interested in STEM education have gotten internships with the Science Museum of Minnesota.

Wolf Ridge near Finland, MN offers a variety of naturalist positions.

The Minneosta Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) has hired students to help them complete their annual water quality assessments. The local MPCA office is located in Brainerd and students will travel all over Northern Minnesota.

Grand Portage National Monument and the Grand Portage Tribe have hired interns for a variety of conservation responsibilities including exotic/invasive plant management, wildlife acoustic monitoring, tree planting and basic wildland firefighting.

The MinnAqua Program. This program is part of the aquatic division of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.  In this program you will provide educational programs 4-5 times a week for three months to many different types of youth aged groups. The programs include education on aquatic invertebrates, fish families and fishing. You will have the opportunity to travel to many different locations in Minnesota.

We have had students do a variety of internships with the Student Conservation Association. There are positions all across the US, doing a large variety of outdoor things.

The Minnesota Conservation Corps offers longer term opportunities. For college age students you will be leading a group of high school age students. They offer stipends and tuition assistant, so make sure this payment schedule works for your situation.

Minnesota Forest Stewardship Council has asked for interns in the past. Many of these internships are in collaboration with county Soil and Water Conservation Districts and may involve GIS analysis and mapping, landowner outreach and data entry and compilation, among other tasks. Find contact information at the Minnesota Forest Stewardship Council website.

The National Resource Conservation Service offers a Pathways Program for current students and recent graduates.

Sustainability, Planning, Urban Development and Economic Development Internships

If you want to work in urban development the Met Council has internships.

Minnesota Chapter of the American PlanningEconomic Development Association of Minnesota and League of Minnesota Cities also have internships.

The City of Minneapolis has an Urban Scholars Program which the Parks Department uses this program to hire interns.

Industry Jobs and Internships

ProWest and Associates has hired GIS professionals for both internships and jobs.

RMB Labs in Detroit Lakes is owned by a BSU alum and offers internships that involve both lab and field positions.

The household hazardous waste handling facility in Fosston has hired multiple students. The work is very physical, dirty, involves long hours in the sun, lots of travel and you will need to be able to drive a forklift. Contact Randy Bodensteiner for more information.

If you are interested in terrestrial restoration, Prairie Restoration often has seasonal positions.

Other companies that have offered students positions include: Pacific BiosciencesAntea GroupCardno IncPinnacle EngineeringNortheast Technical ServicesWSB and Associates and Houston Engineering.

Summer Research Experiences

For students who are interested in graduate school, we recommend that they pursue a summer research opportunity.

The National Science Foundation offers Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) at major research institution around the country. As students in CSS pursue sustainability through a variety of disciplines, many different categories of research internship may apply. Of particular interest may be:

For those that want to travel internationally, there is a program for that. If you are not finding what you are looking for, please check out the entire list of programs. Most of these programs have a due date in February or March and check the program that interests you for the specific application deadline.